Someone once told me that he didn’t think men should use umbrellas. A bit sissy, he thought it. A bit wet, he might have punned, had he been the punning kind. (He wasn’t.) Back then, I agreed with him.
After all, what is the umbrella associated with? There’s dear old Mary Poppins, floating about town under her umbrella, complete with her miraculous carpet bag and spoonful of sugar. And then there’s the traditional city gent, bustling along with neatly furled brolly and bowler hat. (Incidentally, this is the inspiration for the Hackett logo – a smart bowler sat above two crossed umbrellas.)
The image is refined. It’s gentlemanlike… but not tough. You wouldn’t exactly catch the Marlboro Man cowering under a brolly, would you? When the heavens open in Marlboro Country, just a Stetson and a cigarette will do to protect him from the rain. …And perhaps a duster. (That’s the name for those long cowboy-style trench coats. I know because I just looked it up.)
However, time passes and people change. I’m amazed to look back and think I ever agreed with this umbrella-hater. Now, more than a decade on, I have learnt to fully embrace the umbrella. And I don’t mean those piddling little fold-up ones either. I’m talking about the biguns.
My tried and tested brolly is a classic black one with a wooden handle and it comes from M&S. I know regular readers will be tired of hearing me bang on about M&S, but the fact is I like it. It’s certainly not hip. More hip replacement, quite frankly. And that in spite of their attempted image change, courtesy of campaigns featuring David Gandy. However, I don’t care. They do a very good line in traditional, affordable items. Their classic umbrella has lasted me for years and is amazingly tough. Not once has it turned inside out in a high wind. No buffoonish Boris Johnson umbrella antics for me....
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